St. John’s soccer: Women’s program looking for similar success

St. John’s soccer releases its schedule looking to build off of a historic 2021 season. 

Last week, the St. John’s soccer team unveiled its schedule for the upcoming season.

The Red Storm are looking to build off of a historic 2021 season that saw them finish 13-7-3 (6-3-1 Big East), making their first appearance in the Big East Championship game since 1994 and advancing to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history.

The season will kick off on August 18 at Belson Stadium as St. John’s takes on Saint Joseph’s at 7pm. This will be just the second all-time meeting between the two programs after their first meeting came last season in a 5-0 Red Storm win on the road.

The Red Storm will also face off against Central Connecticut State, the only team on the non-conference slate that made the NCAA Tournament last season, on September 5 at 2pm.

Originally, these two teams were set to face off in Queens early last season, but the contest was canceled due to COVID-19 protocols.

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St. John’s will also host Navy for the first meeting between the two teams in program history on September 2at 8pm.

Navy was 11-6-3 overall (6-2-1 Patriot League) on the season before being eliminated by Bucknell in the semifinals of the Patriot League Tournament andnarrowly missing out on the NCAA Tournament.

Other non-conference opponents include NJIT (August 21), Sacred Heart (August 25), Columbia (August 28), Lehigh (September 11), and Cornell (September 17).

The conference slate for the Johnnies will begin on the road against Georgetown on September 22 at 4pm. The Hoyas were the team that took down the Johnnies in last season’s Big East Championship  and the Red Storm have lost the last six straight to its foes from Washington DC.

St. John’s conference home opener will be against UConn on September 25 at 1pm. The regular season will finish up with a road trip to DePaul on October 27 at 4 PM.

St. John’s soccer has massive roster question heading into 2022

The Johnnies return most of the roster that saw the program reach new heights in 2021, but suffered a massive departure through graduation as the era of Zsani Kajan leading the line is over.

Replacing Kajan’s production of 17 goals and six assists will be the main priority, but the major concern is that Ava Collins and Isabelle Aviza were next on the team in scoring with only four goals apiece.

Collins and Aviza, among others, will need to fill the scoring void for the Johnnies to replicate last year’s success. Other regulars like Jessica Garziano and Nicole Gordon are also returning to the fold and could produce and impact offensively.

As to who fills in at Kajan’s starting No. 9 spot itself, there are several options.

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Rising sophomore midfielder Jailene Dejesus would typically sub in for Kajan on occasion in 2021 to give the scoring star a break, so the experience and familiarity is there.

Another option is Oklahoma transfer Molly Feighan.

Feighan, a Pleasant Valley, New York native, spent the 2021 season with the Sooners but also spent the previous three seasons at Virginia Tech.

It certainly will be a spot that is evaluated and earned during the preseason preparations and in the first few nonconference games.

The Red Storm roster was also given a boost as center-backs Katherine Turner, left-back Brooke Boyd, and midfielders Michelle Money and Kayla Mesaros all opt in to an additional year of eligibility.

It solidifies the Red Storm will have plenty of experience and continuity across the backline to balance out the questions that will have to be answered further up the field as St. John’s heads into the 29th season under the helm of Ian Stone.